Shi Lifeng was born in 1968 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province and studied at the Hebei Normal University. His paintings display and evolution from the Social Realism to the starting points of Expressive Individualism in Chinese contemporary Art.
Groups of people are intertwined and climbing forward where they are searching for hope and breakthrough, despite the historical references that influences the circumstances that surround them. They remain determined as they strive upward. The Red Men series work through a visual sensation of contrast and question: Where do they come from and where will they go? The artist has developed this theme by observing people whom came from poor environment but want to reach a better position of higher status. In Shi’s works, Chairman Mao is depicted as the symbol of high position in the Chinese society.
In Shi Lifeng’s latest works, it is about utopian, dream-like visions of life. Shi Lifeng tells compelling stories of present struggles in China with strong contrasting colours.
The figures in Shi Lifeng’s works are not the generally-sensed small number of people, because the environment these people living in are always collected with the experience of the collectivizated chinese political and economic life, or with the collectivizated Chinese world view. In his earlier works he used the symbles of political power and the public social cases as the main background, in which the fate of ups and downs of the figures is changing along with the swinging of the rope and ladder in the wind, this is not a portrayal of one individual or of a group of people, but the actual state of all chinese in one period or even eras. Also the meaning in the works by Shi Lifeng is far more than simple and direct, in more works, we can see the running, climbing or falling persons struggling in boundless wilderness or in high-altitude, pacing up and down and hesitating in the closed walls or at the edge of steep cliff, From these images, we are aware of that the artist’s vision seems to be more profound, he crossed the description on the specific environment, and tried to make more general and in-depth exploration on the relationship between people and their surrounding world. The fate showed in his works is not only related with the specific historical events and political space, also more linked with the concerning environment which formed people’s individual view and world view. The history pages are turning, but where is the sky for people’s inner hearts? The history influenced people, but can it determine people’s today and future? Of course, people always live in the history, but spend more time in the hope for present days and the future. how to be able to achieve the hope or how to pursue? the most important is on their own indivudual view and world view. To solve and overcome the plight in the collective mind of generations of chinese people, to set up the courage for life, the most fundamental is to learn to use the individual intellect and judge to create, instead of being interferenced and controlled by the so-called political.
From the stage of paintings to the one of reality, Shi Lifeng shifted his Strong attention on the fate of his characters from the image composing to the real life experience, which tells that Shi Lifeng indeed has a more broad and far-reaching vision on caring about the fate of the figures in his art works. He intended to create such an art scene as like the audience standing and experiencing in the real, intended to reproduce and upgrade the reality to arouse the audience’s inner unspeakable feeling, because in reality everyone of us needs help for soul, only the expression on the collective unconscious helplessness and longings is achieved, then he is a true artist.